It is no coincidence an Audi A1 is running around Canada with testing gear affixed and engineers in chase. The automaker is presently holding a “Fascination of Quattro” event in Montreal to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the famous drivetrain, but also used the venue to unwrap and evaluate an all-wheel-drive A1 Quattro prototype.
In only a few months time, the Audi A1 has led a storied life. Upon introduction last August, Audi expected A1 sales to be around 30,000 units at the end of 2010. By mid-December, German publications estimated deliveries at 20,000 vehicles, and suggested a high price tag (around $21,000 base in Germany) may be to blame.
Recently, A1 sales expanded into global markets, excluding China and South America. As a result, production was boosted to an estimated 120,000 units per year.
Now comes the next chapter in A1 history: All-wheel drive footgear. There has been no indication if the technology will bump up the production model’s controversial price even further, but regardless, it should certainly increase its fun factor, to say nothing of versatility.
The prototype’s Quattro setup follows the time-tested recipe. Under normal circumstances, the car sends most -- if not all -- its power to the front wheels. When the front wheels lose traction, however, an electronically controlled multiplate clutch can send power to the rear wheels in order to regain a sure grip. The clutch sits ahead of the rear axle for ideal weight distribution.